• davidswallow

What’s your P rate?

Not a medical question - is your productivity close to zero?

A curious side effect of the pandemic seems to be a massive reduction in individual productivity. In some cases it’s necessary; queuing to be served keeps us all safe, and what are a few extra minutes when the days are now 35 hours long?

What I’m referring to is my own sense of inefficiency. My day used to begin at 5.45 with the joys of a long train journey and cramped tube ride, ending around 9pm. Now, it begins sometime around noon with the dog expecting approximately 5.4 hours of belly rubs.

All very good for your mental health (not so great for the bank balance). Or is it? I’ve realised that I actually need a degree of something to pull me forward. Call it expectation, pressure, even stress, but whatever it is, simply having total freedom to do anything you like means I’ll probably do sod all.

My joy comes from working with wood. After the family of course. But I really like wood work. I like the process of taking a piece of rough maple or oak, and turning it into a beautiful cupboard or butchers block. In another blog entry I spoke about how I’d found a form of mindfulness in this. The point of this post is to say that I still miss the external weight of expectation which means you push yourself onwards.

Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Missing work stress? But it’s not about the stress that destroys your health and sense of worth. It’s the adrenaline which gives you the energy, the focus and the will to move forward, even when doing something you don’t particularly enjoy. So here are a few thoughts I’ve had, and I’d love to hear yours.

1. Go to bed at a sensible hour and set an alarm. Waking up at 11am and drinking tea in bed is great, for a bit. When it’s been several months, it’s time to reset

2. Cut down the booze and exercise more. I’ve felt increased anxiety and a sense of panic during the pandemic, but it’s been paralysing the morning after a glass too many

3. Set a target, however spurious. I’ve been staring at an old trampoline for months but couldn’t sum up the energy to dismantle it (see point 2 above). This week, it’s gonna be gone

4. Make something. Using my hands to make an end grain butchers block, something which takes time and concentration, really helps. This week I’ll set a goal to make one that will impress even my kids. Set the bar high!

I’m not aiming for the moon, but for those of us on furlough or looking for work, maybe this resonates, and perhaps for me it means I’ll get a couple of things done next week.

What’s working for you?


To view my range of wooden cutting boards and butchers blocks, click here

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